Where: National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus
When: 13/09/2019 – 23/10/2019


Moisei Nappelbaum is one of the most significant names in the history of photography. The greatness of his talent is characterized by one simple fact: when the Blosheviks needed to demonstrate the image of the head of the Soviet Russia to the world back in 1918, it was Nappelbaum who was assigned to shoot the very first artistic portrait of Lenin.

Nappelbaum entered the history of world photography as a master of artistic and psychological portrait, the photographer of the Soviet cultural and political elite. He is considered the godfather of the photographic portrait, having created his own unique style. More than a thousand of his photographs, among which one can find portraits of Akhmatova, Blok, Gorky, Dzerzhynski, Esenin, Plekhanov, Wells, Pasternak, Meyerhold, Lenin, Sverdlov, Budyonny, etc., have entered the golden pool of art.
[ about the project ]
Nappelbaum was born in Minsk, and this is where he opened his first portrait studio. In his search for knowledge and experience he wandered all over the world: Smolensk, Moscow, Odessa, Vilno, Warsaw, then New York, Pittsburg and other cities of the USA. His photo studio in Petrograd was a true artistic club that would be a place of attraction for people like Akhmatova, Mandelshtam, Blok and Gumilev. In 1935 Nappelbaum was awarded the title of the Honored Artist of the Republic - a case unique in the history of Soviet photography.

A grand event dedicated to the master's 150th anniversary has started in Minsk. For the first time in Belarus were shown Nappelbaum's original famous portraits. The exhibition also showcases personal documents and early works of the Minsk period from the collection of the National Historical Museum and the National Historical Archive of the Republic of Belarus, as well as Moisei Nappelbaum's personal camera.

Not only is this project an hommage and a reflection of a great master's art, but also a mirror of the epoch, demonstrating the portraits of the creative minds in the fields of art, science and culture - and those who decided the fates of the former at that time. It is a story about who all these people were, their contribution to history, culture and science, and how their fates turned out in the end. The concept of the exhibition is the words of Nappelbaum himself who believed that "a good portrait is tantamount to an entire epoch".
«I am highly pleased that this anniversary is being celebrated in my Grandfather's Homeland, in Minsk, exactly where he started his life in art, where he gained experience, experimented in search of his own creative path… I hope that this Minsk Anniversary Exhibition of Moisei Nappelbaum will contribute a lot to World culture».
Ekaterina Tsarenkova, granddaughter of Moisei Nappelbaum (Hamburg)
Project curator: Maya Katznelson
Curators from the National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus: Ekaterina Alexeeva, Nadezhda Savchenko
Exhibition design: Katerina Khrolovich
Poster design: Vladimir Gorz
Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center
Borodulin Collection
National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus
National Historical Archive of the Republic of Belarus
Union of Belarusian-Jewish Public Associations and Communities
Month of Photography in Minsk
IPR Belarus
Svet Goroda Advertising Agency
Minsk City Info
ALC Dalicia
Zalkind House Hotel

The photographs were kindly presented by the Borodulin Collection, one of the world's largest collections of classic Soviet photography.
Where: KGallery, Saint Petersburg
When: 14/11/2019 – 12/01/2020
On November 14, the exhibition started in Saint Petersburg under the aegis of the Culture Committee as part of the VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum. The event became the first large-scale personal exhibition of Nappelbaum in Saint Petersburg since 1918.

The grand opening was attended by the photo master's grandson, Eric Nappelbaum.

The event entered the top-15 of the best exhibitions in Saint Petersburg by Sobaka.ru.
Project curators: Maya Katznelson, Katerina Khrolovich
Co-curators: KGallery team
Alpha Insurance
Belavia Airlines
IPR Belarus
Indigo Hotel
Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center
Borodulin Collection
National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus
[ to read ]
[ thanks for the support ]
SB Belarus Today
«The exhibition in Minsk is the first really large project dedicated to the great master of photography. It is symbolic that the organizers decided to start this journey through cities and countries from Moisei Nappelbaum's homeland».
Союзное Вече
«In front of the camera, Esenin refused to take off his fur coat and sit in an arm-chair, like Nappelbaum's other customers would normally do. The photographer was by no means confused by that, on the contrary, he seemed to be very glad at such a turn of things. He couldn't stand the hooligan-poet's "cherub's loveliness" and "childlike clarity of the gaze" that his colleagues were trying so hard to capture».
«I have given 75 years of my life to the art of photography. 75 years of success and failure, hopes and disappointments. I was never fascinated by landscape photography, nor was I carried away by daily chronicle images. What I have always been truly allured by is the magic of the human face».
Saint Petersburg Vedomosti
«At the lecture dedicated to the master, the Hermitage chief photographer, Yuri Molodkovets, drew parallels between the famous side-on portrait of Anna Akhmatova shot by Nappelbaum and the Gonzaga cameo».


[ to watch ]
TV-channel Belarus 1

Story about Moisei Nappelbaum exhibition in Minsk.

TV-channel Saint Petersburg

«History in faces is an illustrative form of conversation with the audience. This compiles not only the "Portrait of the Epoch", as the exhibition title claims, but also its nerve, its emotion that one cannot help but read. "One's past, their thoughts, views, attitude towards others - all of that leaves traces on a human face. And all of that the able one shall read". Here's the formula drawn by Moisei Nappelbaum. It is also a call for action, a call for anyone who would be eager to read the "Portrait of the Epoch».

TV-channel Russia-Culture

«The exhibition "Moisei Nappelbaum. The Portrait of the Epoch" opens on Fontanka embankment».